Fall storm over the ranch - oils and cold wax medium - 8x8in.
As human beings, we unconsciously seek unity, order. We developed this natural instinct to look for order and relationships in nature so that we could predict the world around us for survival purposes. And it is still valid in our daily environment. Lining up at Starbucks for our turn to get our java is what we naturally do, partly because it is the way to behave in society, partly because it is order. And the two intersect, indeed. Or, to most, a bookshelf with neatly stacked up books is more appealing and easier to peruse than a confusing one where literature is haphazardly piled up. Examples are infinite.
This idea is valid as well in the artworld. A painting will be more successful and more appreciated if it presents unity to its viewer since recognizing patterns and order will give them pleasure. Thus the job of the artist is to simplify what can appear unclear, represent patterns in nature’s various displays, which can be confusing, bring harmony through repetition, create a dominant area to make a statement, and add variety using contrast. Easier said than done and I feel it is through constant observation, practice and pausing that the artist will succeed. And if you think of painters such as Jackson Pollock and feel that all it is is a bunch of paint thrown onto a canvas on the floor, keep in mind that he may have started that way but knew what he was doing and towards what he was heading (once again, read order).
I can see that I naturally seek balance as, lately, I often like to split my paintings in 2 equal halves. It is partly graphic design’s influence, since I was a designer for many years, and partly my way of finding order, with the two intersecting here too. I am not necessarily a fan of symmetry, but there is something visually soothing about an area equally divided. Yet, if those halves are equal, they are never similar: I bring interest to both, using the principles I mentioned above, repetition, contrast, harmony, and variety. The painting above is an example of that: I made a point of keeping an assessing and editing eye on all areas (which is I do with all paintings). I feel that the result works and provides both a peaceful feeling with the vast field stretching ahead, and some tension with the ominous storm in the distance. Let me know your thoughts if you wish.